Île-de-France (literally "Island of France"; see the Etymology section) is the wealthiest and most populated of the twenty-seven administrative regions of France. Created as the "District of the Paris Region" in 1961, it was renamed after the historic province of Île-de-France in 1976 when its administrative status was aligned with the other French administrative regions created in 1972. Île-de-France is sometimes referred to by French people as the unofficial and informal Région Parisienne ("Paris Region") or RP. It is almost completely covered by the Paris metropolitan area.
With 11.9 million inhabitants, increasingly referred to as "Franciliens", an administrative word created in the 1980s, Île-de-France is not only the most populated region of France, but also has more residents than Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Portugal, Norway or Sweden, with a population comparable to that of the U.S. state of Ohio or to that of the Canadian province of Ontario. It is the fourth most populous country subdivision in the European Union, after England, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria.
Economically, Île-de-France is the world's fourth-largest and Europe's wealthiest and largest regional economy: in 2011, its total GDP as calculated by INSEE was €607 billion (US$845 billion at market exchange rates). It is the second wealthiest metropolitan area in the European Union, and if it were a country, it would rank as the seventeenth-largest economy in the world, larger than the Turkish and Dutch economies and almost as large as Indonesia's. Île-de-France is also the world's second most important location for Fortune Global 500 companies' headquarters (after the Kantō region).
The province, also known as Isle of France (as it was once written, as sometimes in English, especially in old publications) is a historical province of France, and the one at the centre of power during most of French history. The historical province is centred on Paris, the seat of the Crown of France, but it does correspond to the present-day région Île-de-France. The area around Paris was the original personal domain of the king of France, as opposed to areas ruled by feudal lords of whom he was the suzerain. This is reflected by divisions such as the Véxin Français and the Véxin Normand, the former being within the King of France's domain, the latter being within the Duke of Normandy's fief.
The old provinces were abolished during the French Revolution in the late 18th century. The region was reconstituted in 1976 and increased administrative and political powers devolved in the process of regionalisation in the 1980s and 1990's.